Golden Onion Pie


Prep time: 
240 minutes
Cooking time: 
30 minutes


The inspiration here is the fantastically rich dish called Zwiebelkuchen (onion cake), a southern German specialty that arrived in America with European settlers and quickly became a staple in Pennsylvania Dutch homes, where it is known as Zwiwwelkuche. Slow-cooked onions are combined with eggs and sour cream and spooned into a yeasted dough. The pastry is then partially folded over the filling.


  1. For dough (or use pre-made/store bough short crust pastry):
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 80ml warm whole milk (105-115°F)
    • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
    • 250g all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 57g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  2. For filling:
    • 680g onions (3-4 large ones), thinly sliced
    • 113g bacon, finely chopped
    • 57g unsalted butter
    • 240g sour cream
    • 2 large egg yolks


  1. If not using pre-made short crust pastry, make the dough:
    1. Stir together yeast, milk, and sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a bowl to mix by hand) and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, start over with new yeast.)
    2. Add flour, salt, egg, and butter and mix at low speed (or stir) until a dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes (or knead by hand 5 minutes).
    3. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and cover bowl with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. Make filling while dough rises:
    1. Cook onions and bacon in butter with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 20 minutes.
    2. Remove lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool onions.
    3. Whisk together sour cream and yolks, then stir into onions.
  3. Bake pie:
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
    2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round. Fit dough into springform pan (stretching slightly if necessary to hang over edge) and spread filling evenly in it. Fold edges of dough over filling, leaving some filling exposed in center. Let pie stand 20 minutes at room temperature.
    3. Bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 11/4 hours. Cool slightly before serving.


• Dough can be allowed to rise slowly, in bowl covered with plastic wrap, in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours. Bring to room temperature before using.
• Onion mixture can be cooked 3 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before adding sour cream and yolks.
• Pie can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350°F oven 30 minutes.

Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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